Getting more light by increasing the cps of the AC

albert_135(Sunset 2 or 3)November 24, 2004

Back about '85 I got a light from a medical supply place in Provo UT. It used a short fluorescent tube like a desk lamp which, according to the salesman, had the AC cranked up to about 1200 cps. It produced a very bright light from a small fixture. The tube didn't last long but it served a purpose.

Can amature electricians do this?

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Nobody has answered you yet, so I will.

THe answer is probably no. Ballasts and bulbs work on a specific frequency(industry standardized), and to try to change the operating frequency would be time-consuming, not give you the results you're looking for, and maybe even unsafe.

Overdrive the fixtures, or find a different type of lighting setup.


    Bookmark   November 28, 2004 at 12:53PM
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If I am not mistaken, the current electronic ballasts send the current to the bulbs at about 40,000 cps.

    Bookmark   November 30, 2004 at 1:40PM
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"had the AC cranked up to about 1200 cps"
"Can amature electricians do this?"

Yes, they can... and they still do.

As you may already know, cps, or cycles per second, is more commonly referred to as Hz, or Hertz, after Heinrich Rudolf Hertz, who established the existence and dual nature (electronic and magnetic) of radio waves.

For most of it's history, the fluorescent lamp has been powered by simply converting the 60 Hz line voltage (50 Hz mains voltage in Europe) into a current regulated power source, also operating at 60 Hz. The easiest and simplest current regulation circuit methods have always had the output cycles matching the input cycles - 60Hz in, 60Hz out.

Decades ago, it was discovered that by increasing the frequency of the current supply to 4000 Hz, the mercury/argon gas would remained ionized (no flicker) and efficiency was improved.

Being that ballasts are notorious for leaking noise, a 4000Hz oscillation would be much more annoying than a 60Hz hum. This is why the designs for the electronic ballasts today operate at 22kHz (22,000 Hz) and beyond.

On the internet you can find a lot of ballast designs for hobbyists, which use all sorts of methods and frequencies to drive fluorescent and neon tubes.

One of the commonly mentioned design requirements is that the waveshape of the output current is as close to a sine wave as possible. As the shape of the wave becomes more distorted, the life of the lamp is drastically reduced. Ballast manufacturer spec sheets quantify this parameter as the "crest factor" of the output.

It is very possible that the design of the 1200Hz current regulator was such that it's less-than-perfect waveshape shortened the lamp life.


    Bookmark   December 4, 2004 at 2:50PM
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